When Your Position Depends on Lying: Geocentrism Edition (LSP #167)

When Your Position Depends on Lying: Geocentrism Edition (LSP #167) November 23, 2020

Hi and welcome back! Years ago, I wrote about how culture warriors’ message absolutely requires dishonesty. That was seven years ago, but very little has changed since then! Indeed, a recent story talks about geocentrists and the deceptive tactics they used to make their documentary sound more credible. And this story feels very, very familiar to me. Today, Lord Snow Presides over another bunch of culture warriors telling lies and using deceptive tactics to win their fight.

checkmate, geocentrism wingnuts
(Ross Sneddon.)

(A fundagelical is a right-wing, fundamentalist evangelical Christian. Once these were two totally separate and distinct branches of right-wing Christianity. Over the past 20 years, they fused together. Now, the two groups are almost completely identical in culture and beliefs.)

The Hilarious Red Herring of Creationism.

In the early 00s, fundagelicals waded into tons of online slapfights with outsiders to their tribe over Creationism. They focused on the age of the Earth and other heavenly bodies, sure, but mostly they worried about how the various lifeforms on our planet came to look like they do today.

(Later, these same fundagelicals sought credibility by re-dubbing this branch of pseudoscience intelligent design. However, both terms mean exactly the same thing.)

Creationism vs. real science made for drama back then because Creationists were trying their hardest to sneak their nonsense into taxpayer-funded public schools’ science classes. These were the heady days of the 2008 Dover trial and the Wedge Document.

Oh yeah, all us non-Christians endured endless rounds of BUT BUT MUH DNA CODING LANGUAGE and complexity means a designer! And the cherry topping that bullshit sundae was always a willful mangling of the word “theory,” as in the theory of evolution (ToE) is jus’ a THEORY!

What’s so hilarious to me now is that when you get down to it, the ToE is the very least of Christians’ concerns. What ought to freak fundagelicals out is how poorly the Bible performs when it comes to the Earth’s position in the universe.

Creationists are out playing checkers while geocentrists lap them with 4D Chess.

The Even More Hilarious Conspiracy Theory of Geocentrism.

Geocentrism is both a branch of ludicrous pseudoscience and a fundagelical conspiracy theory.

As a pseudoscience, geocentrism posits that the Earth is the center of the universe. In that view, the sun, other planets of our solar system, and indeed everything else revolves around our planet.

Geocentrists have never, ever been able to present credible evidence that their ideas are true. Nor have they ever presented any credible evidence contradicting the existing body of science that supports the truth of the Earth’s position. But oh, they sure try hard on both counts — just like Creationists do.

Also just as Creationists trotted out an attempted rename of intelligent design, geocentrists sometimes try to pull a fast one by saying that no no, it’s not the Earth itself that represents the center of the universe. No, no, see, see, the Earth just so happens to sit on top of that center. Geocentrists present this hair-splitting with no more evidence than they provide for their other claims. So I’m ignoring it, just as I refuse to use the term intelligent design for Creationism.

As a conspiracy theory, geocentrism wingnuts believe that their opponents engage in the systemic eradication and hiding of all and any evidence that would support this pseudoscience. Yes, because in Wackadoodle Land the scientists who could credibly demonstrate geocentrism wouldn’t immediately become the darlings of the entire scientific world. Totally not.

Most of all, geocentrists embrace this whole notion because they think real science paints human beings as insignificant. Their narcissistic egos can’t handle that idea at all. So they use geocentrism to advance a purely religious agenda that makes them feel bigger than they really are.


This is all completely just like Creationism.

And Another Big Similarity for Geocentrism.

I’m guessing there’s just a big overlap generally between Creationists and geocentrists. One wingnut belief inevitably becomes many because wingnuts can’t pull back on the gullibility throttle. Nothing they believe tethers to reality, so they’ll adopt literally any claim, no matter how obviously wingnutty, as long as it fits into their existing framework of beliefs.

Speaking of which:

Back in 2014, a geocentrist wingnut named Robert Sungenis made a documentary called The PrincipleDaily Beast reviewed it at the time. Their writer focused on the lies Sungenis told to obtain his guest scientists and narrator — and also on how truly weird it is that Creationists aren’t all geocentrists.

Interestingly, it turns out that Sungenis isn’t himself a fundagelical. Instead, he’s a hardline Catholic fundamentalist wingnut, which is a flavor called “traditional Catholicism” by its adherents. Whatever you call it, it’s a worldview that somehow surpasses both the inhuman cruelty and the utter weirdness of regular Prottie fundagelicalism.

(“He’s not like us,” my extremely-Catholic grandmother would have said quietly, pursing her lips. Then she’d have changed the subject. She never knew what to do with weird Catholics. Neither did I, once I began encountering them in adulthood.)

Creationist leaders don’t like geocentrism all that much, but their reasons for disagreement always sound like special pleading to me — not to mention like a serious warping of early Christian beliefs combined with a dose of meaningless objections to Catholicism itself.

And the Biggest Similarity: Lies, Lies, Lies in Geocentrism.

Just like Creationists do, it turns out that geocentrists also like to lie to push their position. They even use the same kinds of lies, it seems.

For his 2014 pseudoscience documentary, Robert Sungenis signed on a famous Star Trek actress, Kate Mulgrew, to narrate. And somehow — nobody’s totally sure how, weirdly enough — he obtained and used clips of legitimate scientists saying stuff that appeared to support his position.

Lawrence Krauss, one of those scientists, quickly completely disavowed his perceived involvement in the film. His attention-getting headline in Slate read:

I Have No Idea How I Ended Up in That Stupid Geocentrism Documentary

In his post, he said he had no clue whatsoever about how he ended up in The Principle. Kate Mulgrew followed suit in a subtler, less attention-getting way that made her disagreement similarly clear. It sounds like everybody else featured in it did the same.

Of course, the nutbar responsible for The Principle just considered all these disavowals PROOF YES PROOF that his conspiracy theory notions were absolutely true. But he’d have done that regardless.

Being a wingnut means never objectively testing one’s ideas, and that means there’s never a lose condition in wingnuts’ minds.

A Recent Documentary.

Remember, all this stuff happened in 2014. Some of our community wasn’t even deconverted by then! So it was news to many of us when it popped up again as a topic a few days ago on YouTube.

That’s when channel called Folding Ideas released a short retrospective of the 2014 documentary, its pseudoscience ideas, the way it snookered a whole bunch of real scientists and public figures into getting involved, and what happened after those folks realized what had happened. Here’s a link to it:

The YouTuber goes into a lot of detail about the hardline Catholicism involved and this group’s utter hatred of human rights and never-ending opposition to self-ownership and even democracy itself.

I hadn’t quite realized just how far geocentrism had infested this flavor of Catholicism — or just how deeply their leaders had bunked down with fundagelical leaders, or how fervently they share fundagelicals’ culture-war goals and methods (especially with regard to Reconstructionism).

The filmmaker also does a good job of drawing attention to the similarity of geocentrism to Creationism, while honestly sharing standard-issue Creationists’ objections to geocentrism.

Yeah, I liked it.

History Rhymes Sometimes.

Catholic hardliners were already becoming a problem in 2014, and that problem’s become even more serious today. Lately, they’ve been trying their level best to bring back the well-debunked Satanic Panic.

The Satanic Panic itself wasn’t harmless, and it didn’t completely die away just because fundagelicals slowly backed away from it around the mid-late 1990s. The ideas involved with this entrenched conspiracy theory stuck around long after fundagelicals pivoted to something else catching their attention.

Hardline Catholics are just come-latelies to the whole squabble. But now that they’ve united in wingnuttery, their combined lasting faith in conspiracy theories may have hand-delivered today’s Christian wingnuts to terrifying depths — like, say, QAnon.

I appreciate that Folding Ideas has brought modern audiences’ attention to this 2014 documentary and the kerfluffle that erupted around it. History may not exactly repeat itself, but events sure do rhyme often enough that we need to know this stuff.

Today, Lord Snow Presides over the liars-for-Jesus who haven’t changed a bit, the fake science they use to push their agendas, and the lasting harm they do to humanity as a whole as a result.

NEXT UP: Why evangelism itself is so disrespectful, and why fundagelicals can’t make it so no matter how hard they try. See you tomorrow!

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(H/t to SadOldGuy for sharing the link for the documentary!)

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Lord Snow Presides is our off-topic weekly chat series. Lord Snow was my very sweet white cat. He actually knew quite a bit. Though he’s passed on, he now presides over a suggested topic for the day. Of course, please feel free to chime in with anything on your mind. We especially welcome pet pictures!

About Captain Cassidy
Captain Cassidy grew up fervently Catholic, converted to the SBC in her teens, and became a Pentecostal shortly afterward. She even volunteered in church (choir, Sunday School) and married an aspiring preacher! But then--record scratch!--she brought everything to a screeching halt when she deconverted in her mid-20s. That was 25 years ago. Now a comfortable None, she blogs on Roll to Disbelieve about psychology, pop culture, politics, relationships, cats, gaming, and more--and where they all intersect with religion. She lives with an adored and adoring husband named Mr. Captain and a sweet, squawky orange tabby cat named Princess Bother Pretty Toes. At any given time, she's running out of bookcase space. You can read more about the author here.
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